News: NHS Blood and Transplant says thank you after a record breaking National Blood Week 2015

Friday, 19 Jun 2015

NHS Blood and Transplant says thank you to donors, brands, influencers and media after the ‘Missing Type’ campaign for National Blood Week 2015 (8-14 June 2015) drove thousands of people to register as blood donors.

The public’s response to the campaign has been overwhelming with more than 30,000 people registering as donors.  Even though some of the registrations are still being processed, it’s clear already that 20,000 more people registered during this year’s National Blood Week campaign compared to last year – a 3 fold increase.  The number of registrations surpassed all previous National Blood Week campaigns.

The ‘Missing Type’ campaign saw the letters A, O and B – the letters that make up the blood groups – removed from public view to draw attention to the need for new blood donors. During a campaign teaser phase, the Downing Street sign lost its O, Waterstones lost the A and O from its Trafalgar Square store, Odeon dimmed the Os at its flagship Leicester Square cinema and Green and Black’s Organic momentarily altered the look of its Blood Orange bar. NotOnTheHighStreet.com, NOW TV and GAME also got on board during the teaser phase.

When NHS Blood and Transplant revealed it was behind the confusing missing letters, it drew public attention to the fact that 40% fewer new donors came forward last year compared to a decade ago. It explained that while blood stocks are currently good, if not enough new people donate blood and these ‘types’ were to go missing in years to come, there wouldn’t be enough blood available when patients need it in future.

By World Blood Donor Day on Sunday 14 June around a thousand multinational, national and SME brands – including small start-ups and family businesses - had joined the cause. They altered their logos, websites, Facebook or Twitter pages to back ‘Missing Type’, creating an overall social media audience of 147 million across the week. Some of the biggest names included Google, 02, Microsoft, McDonalds, Hummingbird Bakery, British Airways, The Church of England, UNISON, Marmite, TFL, Coca-Cola, Arsenal Football Club, Santander, London Ambulance Service, Nandos and Starbucks. #MissingType was used more than 21,000 times by companies and members of the public supporting the campaign.

NHS Blood and Transplant’s ‘Missing Type’ campaign led to record numbers of new donors across England and North Wales signing up during a National Blood Week campaign. 

  •         30,620 signed up during the 10-day campaign (Friday 5 – Sunday 14 June)
  •         18,114 (or 59%) of those registering during the campaign are 17-34 years old.
  •         2,025 Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people signed up, compared to 832 during National Blood Week last year.

Jon Latham, NHS Blood and Transplant’s Assistant Director for Donor Services and Marketing, said: “’I’d like to say a huge thank you to everybody who responded to the campaign by either helping to spread the word or by signing up to donate. We are thrilled that more than 30,000 people committed to save lives by registering as a blood donor.

“We hope that the thousands of people who registered will now go on to book an appointment and become regular donors and that the companies who backed the campaign will continue to help us promote blood donation.

“Current stock levels are good so we don’t need new donors to walk in to donate now.  If there aren’t any immediate appointments in your area in the next few weeks, don’t worry, book an appointment for the future. We plan our sessions in line with the blood patients need. Those signing up have shown their commitment to saving lives and we look forward to welcoming them for their first donations.  We hope they will go on to become regular donors and help us meet patient needs for years to come.

“While we have captured the nation’s imagination with ‘Missing Type’ the job is far from done.  In order to ensure we have enough new donors coming forward this year to replace those who can no longer donate and to ensure we have the right mix of blood groups to meet patient needs now and in the future, we need new people to register every day and 204,000 to come forward as new donors this year.  Giving blood is easy, it doesn’t take long to do and you can help save or improve up to three lives each time you donate. So what’s stopping you? Register as a blood donor today through www.blood.co.uk.”

If you are 17 or over, visit www.blood.co.uk or call 0300 123 23 23 today to find out if you are eligible to donate, register as a blood donor and to book your appointment.

- Ends –

Notes to editors:

NHS Blood and Transplant press office: 01923 367 600.  Pressoffice@nhsbt.nhs.uk

About NHS Blood and Transplant:

  • NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is a joint England and Wales Special Health Authority. Its remit includes the provision of a reliable, efficient supply of blood and associated services to the NHS in England and North Wales. It is also the organ donor organisation for the UK and is responsible for matching and allocating donated organs
  • Donors can search for sessions, change their contact details, book appointments and change/cancel their appointments in real time on www.blood.co.uk
  • There are apps available for Android, Windows and Apple Smartphone and tablet devices which enable donors to search for sessions based on your location, book and manage appointments.
  • NHSBT’s donor line - 0300 123 23 23 - is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week with all calls charged at the standard local rate, even from mobile phones
  • NHSBT collects 1.7 million units of blood each year from over 23,000 blood donation sessions in more than 3,000 venues
  • Only four per cent of the eligible population are active blood donors
  • A unit of blood is measured as 470mls (or just under a pint)
  • There are four main blood groups – O, A, B and AB. A regular supply of all blood groups is vital – red cells last 35 days and platelets only 7 days.
  • Maintaining a regular supply of group O Rh Negative is particularly important to respond to patient need.